An Instagram couple who attracted thousands of followers with their stunning photos of travel adventures have shocked fans by announcing they’re splitting up.
Australian man Max Bidstrup and Canadian Lee Macmillan – known to fans as @maxandlee_ on Instagram – first became famous on YouTube after they built a van and took it on an epic road trip from Canada down to the southernmost tip of South America.
They’ve continued to travel along with their Australian shepherd, Occy.
In an unexpected post to their more than 74,000 followers today, the couple revealed they had decided to part ways.
“We are so proud of what we have achieved as both a couple and as individuals over the past few years and we have been honoured to be able to share the journey with all of you,” the couple said in their post.
“Sadly though, despite going through so much together, and trying so damn hard, some things don’t always work out, no matter how much you want them to. We are very sorry to announce that the next chapter of our lives will not be one experienced together, as we will be going our separate ways from here.”
Bidstrup and Macmillan said the relationship breakdown was “incredibly difficult for us to talk about on here”.
“The last month has been one of the most trying of our lives as we come to terms with this new reality, and we wanted to thank everyone for their messages of love and support as we took some time away from sharing this pain. We both want what is best for each other and will continue to support each other now and in to the future,” they said.
The couple, who had been based in Canada, would now work on the “long & complicated process” of getting Occy back to Australia.
“Thank you for believing in us, it’s been one hell of a ride,” they said.
The pair met while Bidstrup, from Wangaratta, Victoria, was on a working holiday in Canada.
They then took a five-week trip to southeast Asia together before returning to Canada and setting to work on their van.
They bought a 2006 Dodge Sprinter for about $12,300 and spent about $11,000 renovating it before setting off on their cross-country road trip in September 2016.
Fans expressed their heartache to the couple’s post.
“So sorry to hear as I have followed your journeys for a very long time,” one follower wrote. “You both have been such inspirations to me. Sad to say I saw this coming in recent months. It’s so sad and difficult but I think it is for the best.”
“It has been a privilege to follow your journey together and I wish you all the best for this next chapter of your lives,” another said. “An ending of one thing is always the beginning of something new.”
“It’s always hard to let go, but I’m sure you guys chose what’s best for you. Thank you for always being so transparent and real,” another said.
The couple said fans could continue following their separate adventures on their individual Instagram accounts.